Sunday 24 January 2016

Van Gaal and the Reds in irreversible backward slide

Nothing has changed in the past 12 months and defeat against the Saints was the lowest point.

Twelve months ago to the day of Saturday's dire Southampton defeat United embarrassingly drew at League Two Cambridge in the FA Cup.

This was Louis van Gaal's verdict on that dreadful stalemate at the Abbey Stadium.
"In the first half we passed for 45 minutes without doing what we have to do and that is disappointing but in the second half we could have scored.
"In the second half we played much better and it was a pity that we had to wait until half-time but the second half I was pleased even though we didn't score."

Sound familiar?

That quote could have been cut and pasted from numerous Van Gaal press conferences since.
The damning fact is that 12 months on from that shameful night in the University City it is still the same old story.

Van Gaal and the Reds haven't learnt anything and haven't made any progress- in fact we're now worse than January 2015 and even worse than this time two years ago when David Moyes' United were knocked out of the Capital One Cup semi final when they were a few penalty kicks away from Wembley.

The Reds are stuck in reverse.

If you'd spent the last year at Cambridge Uni and flunked so many subsequent exams there would have been suggestions that perhaps you should drop out.

Van Gaal was given those hints on Saturday.

Executive vice chairman Ed Woodward watched the Dutchman's lonely walk down the touchline at the end of the match like a hawk.

He could only have been judging the reaction of the Old Trafford fans after another abysmal home showing.
Already a few had made their feelings quite clear gesticulating and shouting at the directors box where United's hirer and firer sat.
A crowd that have prided itself on not openly hounding players and manager had had a bellyful.

It may not have been high decibel vicious anger and outright rebellion in comparison to when other areas vent their spleen but by Old Trafford's standards of disgust this was a major revolt.

Enough is enough.

Van Gaal has survived so many tipping points but this felt different.

At least after Cambridge  there was last spring's six match winning streak that sparked some hope.
Can anyone really see this United side suddenly putting together that kind of sequence now?

After talking about potentially clawing your way back into title contention after winning at Liverpool to then offering up this appalling performance was unacceptable.
Then again maybe we all got giddy after Anfield because Jurgen Klopp's side were not that good on Merseyside and apart from Wayne Rooney's winner shading it neither were United. 

You hoped that no matter how it was achieved it might at least ignite some confidence and kick start a troubled season.
But then the team gave us this against the Saints.

Not for the first time there was only one shot on goal, nil creativity and poor defending on the one major question the Reds rearguard were asked a question by Southampton's £4 bargain striker and debut sub Charlie Austin.

There have been so many low points this campaign but this was the lowest.
It cannot be allowed to get any lower.

2016 had offered the tiniest speck of promise but Van Gaal's United have gone backwards and that is totally unacceptable. 

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